The powerlines near the tee on No. 9 at the Country Club of Jackson struck again. They got Sam Burns last year, but on Friday at the Sanderson Farms, they didn’t lay a glove on Australia’s Harrison Endycott.
At last year’s event, Burns hit the powerlines with an otherwise perfect drive that found the fairway and instantly knew the rules stated he had to reload, with no penalty, per Model Rule E-11. He hit a poor second drive and made par [below].
Endycott, a Sydney native now based in Scottsdale, also hit the powerlines on No. 9 Friday, his last hole of the day. “I absolutely crushed this drive down nine, hit the power line, [which] forced me to reload and hit probably one of the worst golf shots I think anyone would have hit this week,” Endycott said Friday of the second attempt, which he pulled way left.
Endycott, though, went one better than Burns. He hit his approach to six feet. “It worked out; [the ball] caught the [other] fairway and I made birdie. Birdie at the last was meant to be.”
Birdie at No. 9 gave Endycott a seven-under-par 65, and at 12 under he shared the lead with Carl Yuan and Luke List (both 66). Chesson Hadley (69) was fourth at 11 under.
The first 36 holes in Jackson have been a relief for 2022 Korn Ferry Tour graduate Endycott, who had missed five cuts leading into the event and six of his last seven on the PGA Tour. His last good result was a T12 at the Canadian Open. Now, at 131st on the FedEx Cup, Endycott is one of many pros playing for his 2024 tour card this fall.
“It’s nice to have a job on the weekend; I was getting sick of flying home on Friday nights,” Endycott, who won the Korn Ferry’s Hunstville Championship last year, said. “If you keep doing the right things, scoring will take care of itself. I managed to do that today, stayed calm, and … today I made a few more putts and capitalized. I’m pretty proud of myself the way I managed myself around. I played awful here last year. It’s always nice to come back and play at a place where you haven’t played well at and play well at. We’ll go after it tomorrow.”
His approach play was helpful. Especially on the par-5 third, his 12th, when Endycott holed out from 81 yards for an eagle. “I couldn’t get home in two; no pro likes a forced lay-up on a par-5,” he said. “My caddie actually talked me into hitting a little dead-arm sand wedge and [I] made it.”
Endycott’s short game was the difference on day two, though. He had just 24 putts and gained 3.53 strokes on the field on the greens while saving par on all five missed greens.
Still, if he was splitting hairs, his driving wasn’t quite there.
“I didn’t drive the ball as well,” he said. “The best-feeling drive I hit all day today was the one on nine that hit the power line, and then had to reload, and then I hit the worst golf shot of all time.”
One that resulted in a birdie.